Raise The Stakes


When you write fiction, once you get past the technical/grammar/POV aspects, there aren’t a whole lot of rules. Guidelines, but those are flexible, boiling down to if you write well enough, if the story is riveting, you can “get away with” practically anything.  There’s one bit of wisdom that I believe is a rule: raise the stakes. What’s the worst thing that could happen to your protagonist, the biggest muck they could make of the situation in front of them? Make that happen.

I remember, about a thousand years ago, the catchphrase in the pop psychology/self-help section of the bookstore was, “we write our own scripts.”  Positive, empowering, offering the idea that we control what happens in our individual worlds. Imagine it for a second, with a laptop, a 99 cent Bic, or a pencil found in a goodie bag, we control it all.

Except we don’t.  Sure we control how we respond to events in our lives, and many situations are the result of choices we make, but sometimes not. Some of these situations are the result of other people’s choices–say, being faced with terror of potential loss of health care and special ed services for a medical needs kiddo because other voters decided tax cuts and a pro life stance were more important than social services, social justice, and the needs of children and adults who’ve already been born.

The holiday season is always a bit tricky for those who deal with chronic medical needs.  Those yucky viruses that are a nuisance for all can get complicated, more serious, and last longer than they do for the average healthy person.  We’re quite used to medical mayhem here in Fringeland.  It always sucks, but you do get used to the reality of a shifting normal, not necessarily expecting but being prepared for potential complications and unpleasant surprises. Or so you think.  Because sometimes you go to Dr Pediatrician who sends you to Dr Specialologist who sends you back to Dr Pediatrician who sends you immediately to another Dr Specialologist who sees and diagnoses something completely unexpected, that may or may not have an underlying cause, but regardless, threatens the vision of kiddo. The vision. Both eyes. Of kiddo whose all-things-good come from the visual.

Yeah, sometimes shit just happens, and it feels like some sadistic fucking wizard behind the curtain is writing a manuscript where you and yours are featured, and (s)he’s snickering at they keyboard because they figured out how to raise. the. stakes. for the next few chapters. If I were writing this manuscript, this novel (remember–by definition, a novel is fiction) and wanted to raise the stakes for an already challenged artist? No hesitation, I’d threaten vision. If I actually could control this, could write my own script? Absolutely, I’d get my butt back in the chair, at the keyboard, and write for twenty-two hours a day. But this isn’t a novel, and I sure as shit didn’t write this manuscript.

I may skip decorating the tree, and let the crying sap be my holiday statement.

The Kitchen is now Closed

Jawfish poking his head out of his cave to see if it's all clear

Jawfish poking his head out of his cave to see if it’s all clear

I hope everyone is having a happy holiday season.  Remember my last post, my big stand about refusing to make any rolled cookies in hopes of preserving my back?  Yeah.  I stuck to not making any rolled cookies, but as it turns out, if you make enough drop cookies while still up and down the train steps for 12 trains a day and add in cooking regular food, that doesn’t actually mean anything.

First came the molasses cookies.

IMG_6819 IMG_6831

Then came the oatmeal cranberry chocolate chips.

Photo by Art Child

Photo by Art Child


Pause to absorb some tank serenity.

This cracks me up, the snail has some type of algae (that I don't see anywhere else in the tank) growing from his shell.

This cracks me up, the snail has some type of algae (that I don’t see anywhere else in the tank) growing from his shell.

clown trying to convince the urchin to move

clown trying to convince the urchin to move

On to the chocolate crinkle cookies.

IMG_6864 IMG_6868 IMG_6873

Now for my favorites.  Honey nut ball thingies.  They have the flavor profile of a Greek/Middle Eastern pastry but in a cookie. They’re kind of a pain to make, lots of steps but well worth it.

The first step is the killer. Chopping and chopping

The first step is the killer. Chopping and chopping

End of chopping, walnuts on left, pistachios on right

End of chopping, walnuts on left, pistachios on right

Glaze of honey, oj, cinnamon sticks and cloves

Glaze of honey, oj, simmered down with cinnamon sticks and cloves

The filling=nuts mixed with orange peel and a little of the glaze

The filling=nuts mixed with orange peel and a little of the glaze

not so secret ingredient for the dough

not so secret ingredient for the dough

By this time I was grateful for a dough that didn't have to be mixed by hand.

By this time I was grateful for a dough that didn’t have to be mixed by hand.

End result, drizzled with the glaze.

End result, drizzled with the glaze.

Last batch, pumpkin cookies with a cream cheese frosting.  Simple and pretty fast to throw together, these are almost like little cakes.


Added up, somewhere between 15-20 dozen cookies, less the couple dozen that were casualties to the residual nerve damage from my fall last spring.  Lots of dropping/kitchen accidents now–I have to start remembering it’s just to be expected when calculating how much I need to prepare.

Christmas dinner I tried to keep things easy.  Ham, curried lentil/cauliflower/almond pie, and a baked spinach and pea risotto.  I’ve never made risotto in the oven before, but I saw a few recipes online, and it seemed like a great back-saver.  Blech. Let’s just say I won’t repeat that mistake.

The curry pie was also new for me, but this I would definitely make again. If I can remember what I put in it.

The curry pie was also new for me, but this I would definitely make again. If I can remember what I put in it.

Mini pies with the excess curry and crust

Mini pies with the excess curry and crust

Man Child wasn’t with us last Christmas, either, but this year we’re really feeling it.  Maybe because last year he was here right before and after, maybe because we know he’s much further away this time.  In any case, he’s been missed.  On the bright side, he definitely knows the routine/timing for us, so he and Miss Music (visiting him in Europe for the holiday) called to video chat on Christmas morning.

For you, Man Child--in case you were missing our Christmas breakfast. ;)

For you, Man Child–in case you were missing our Christmas breakfast. 😉

So yeah, I’m done.  I don’t want to mix, measure, chop, sauté, or bake anything else. More than anything, I’m sick of smelling like the inside of my oven.  Why oh why does anyone think it’s a good idea to create grown-scents and lotions that smell like food?  As far as I’m concerned, it’s a successful adult day if at the end of it I don’t reek of garlic, onions, cinnamon, or vanilla.

One of the best parts of this season has been having Nerd Child home.  Not just here, but relaxed because the college app hell is over.  This means I’m getting to hear lots of fabulous music.



Because of El Niño, instead of gray skies and ice we’ve seen quite a bit of fog in the city this winter.  Unfortunately, late December is still far from the end of the season, and I’m afraid we’re going to be slammed with early spring snowstorms.  This of course is based on nothing other than my pessimism.


For most of us, winter weather is, at worst, a nuisance.  Our recent high temps have meant it didn’t “feel” like it should be time for Christmas shopping, but it was more pleasant when we had to.  Feeling beat and smelling like holiday cookies is solved with a shower at the end of the day.  But for all too many, this warmer than usual season means everything.


Have Yourself a Merry

Please don't let this die now.

He came, he saw…

and he left behind more food than this fridge has hosted in months.  I’ve been keeping the refrigerator sparse due to its now sensitive nature.  Trying to coax it along for another year or so before I break down and replace it, but in the meantime, to minimize losses I try not to keep much in there at a time.  Man Child came home last week, took one look, went shopping and got to cooking.  And baking.  Because he was leaving to do some traveling and meet up with Miss Music for the holidays, he wanted to be sure Art Child was covered for Christmas.  She now has approximately 8001 assorted, homemade cookies to share with Santa.

There’s good and bad to having a large span of years between the first child and the last.  The bad, I’ve kind of run out of steam for all the little extra touches during the holiday season.  The good, the oldest doesn’t want the youngest to miss out, so he picks up the slack.

Having him here was great.  A friend of his also came to stay for a couple of the days, so fun!  I’m glad I’m no longer one of them, but the passion and enthusiasm of young adults can’t be beat, and we had a great political discussion one of the evenings.  That’s the thing about allowing your teens to go to boarding school, there are fewer opportunities for these moments.  So yes, even now that Man Child is in his senior year of college, I can honestly say I treasure these times.

He left, and Nerd Child arrived.  I’m hoping he’ll play his guitar for me a few times while he’s home–another one of those experiences I wish I had more of–but it’s unlikely.  And that is my fault, I get too excited.  Really.  I always tell myself I’m going to be blasé and just nod and smile, but then I burst with the fabulousness of it all, asking him to play another and another, and why doesn’t he sing, too?  Mmm hmm.  My enthusiasm is received like a zit exploding mid-performance.

Art Child and I got a little tree this year.  Barely more than a table top.  On the stand, it just about reaches my rib cage.  It feels right.  Low key.  I haven’t done one thing to decorate the tree or the apartment. Honestly, I’m still too busy feeling the relief of the extra space.

Do I have to consider myself behind on the holiday shopping if I’m never done at this point? I say no. Besides, I’m still busy angsting (took 4 tries to type angsting, spell check is insisting I mean to write ingesting) over what I am or am not doing with writing and submitting, checking email 43 times an hour to see if I’ve gotten any responses.

I did drag myself away from the screen yesterday, spent some time in the park with Art Child to check out the bare trees and the holiday booths by Columbus Circle.

I'll stick with tea, thanks.

I’ll stick with tea, thanks.

I never knew horses could have curly hair. Fur?

I never knew horses could have curly hair. Fur?

The park, tony Columbus Circle, the artisan booths, older buildings behind, to me this shot caught NY.

The park, tony Columbus Circle, the artisan booths, older buildings behind, to me this shot caught NY.

Art Child and I both loved this tree.

Art Child and I both loved this tree.

At long last, I now have a favorite park bench.

At long last, I now have a favorite park bench.

All the World is Waiting For You

Here we are, post Christmas and pre New Years and I have a confession to make.  I had a fabulous Christmas.

Here I am, just like Wonder Woman.  Except for the boobs.

Here I am, just like Wonder Woman. Except for the boobs.

Excuse the pj’s.  See those fingerless glove thingies?  They’re warm, and fabulous, and I loooooove them.  Actually, when it comes to the stuff of gifts, I kind of racked up this year.  I feel embarrassed by my good fortune.  Everything I received was something I’ve wanted for a long time, or would have wanted if I thought of it, and I’ve got a goofy grin looking at the boxes and bits of wrapping that still litter the living room.  Fringelings and Husband, also happy.

As you can tell, I'm not one of those who obsesses about the placement of each ornament.

As you can tell, I’m not one of those who obsesses about the placement of each ornament.

As I get older, I’m getting better about letting go of things that don’t matter.  I used to spend way too much time and effort picking just the right tree.  This year we gave Nerd Child money and sent him to the corner to pick one.  He is not one to obsess over these things.  Guess what?  It was absolutely fine.  Decorated and hung with our old familiar lovelies, it was more than fine, it was a perfectly Fringe-y Christmas.  Ornaments from places we’ve visited, different times in our lives, gifts from friends and family.

A handblown ornament I loved was knocked off by one of the beasts.  Smashed.  I wish it hadn’t, but it’s ok.  Here I am, proof of emotional maturity.  We won’t mention the huge meltdown I had when I didn’t see my cake stand when I woke up in the morning.  Guess I’m a work in progress, after all.  Turns out Man Child put it away in a place I didn’t think of, to protect it from Big Senile Dog, since he doesn’t seem to realize rules still apply, old or not.

She's another favorite.  That's the bonus of choosing smaller trees, I only hang favorites.  :)

She’s another favorite. That’s the bonus of choosing smaller trees, I only hang favorites. 🙂

During the day on Christmas Eve I was able to run over to my friend’s apartment and bring cookies for her and her husband.  These are two of the kindest, smartest, most generous people I’ve ever known.  They gave me a lovely gift, but having them in my life is a gift unto itself.

Normally, I make a big breakfast/brunch on Christmas Day (mostly prepped the night before), and we spend the bulk of the day in our pj’s chilling, playing with new stuffs, and an open door for whatever friends and family would like to drop by.  Big Senile Dog and Little Incredibly Dumb Dog plant themselves next to the table, just waiting for something, anything, to be left unattended.

She scored a tissue, he's holding out for bacon.

She scored a tissue, he’s holding out for bacon.

This year Man Child did all the breakfast prep on Christmas Eve.  Good thing, because I hurt my back and just could.not.stand. for any more kitchen prep.  Would have turned into a throwback to the Christmas mornings when I was pregnant and on bed rest–Christmas bagels.   After the opening of the gifts, 8 gazillion cups of coffee, and breakfast, we took our time and then went to have dinner with Mr and Mrs Smitholini and their crew.

It’s been a long time since we were all together.  And by all, I mean the five of us and the seven of them, plus Mrs S’s brother.  Why yes, Mrs Smitholini and I were both quite, ummm, fertile in our younger years.  Our kids spent a lot of time together growing up.  We used to trick or treat together every year, when the Smitholinis lived in one of the outer boroughs, and I have a photo of the crew on their front steps, in costume, for about 10 years straight.  Every year there was at least one more.  At this point the age range is from 12 up to 22.  Most not really kids anymore, all with their own lives and schedules, and a rarity to have all in one place for the day.

I hope everyone had some peace and laughter during their holiday, whichever holiday you celebrate.  A moment where you felt love, kindness, and general silliness.

So yes, it was a beautiful day, peace and laughter and thankfulness.  I would appreciate it regardless, but we had a particularly stressful few days beforehand.  There was a glitch with our health insurance that is about 1/2 an inch from complete disaster for us, and then discovered someone hacked into our cell phone account and added 6!! lines and purchased 4 iPhones on our account.  Life, keeping it real.

I woke up early today and spent an hour and a half scrubbing the stove of the blackened, greasy remnants of the past weeks’ cooking and baking frenzy.  I should be working on Astonishing right now, but I’m a little stuck.  Again.  I hoped the fumes of bleach and Easy Off would trigger some ideas.  No such luck.  I’m thinking about New Years, goals for 2014, but not quite ready to write them down.

Not exactly Wonder Woman.  Not a wonder, not changing the world, no satin tights.  But all in all, not a bad close to 2013.

Wonder Woman Covers

Wonder Woman Covers (Photo credit: jooleeah_stahkey)

Merry Holidays!

I thought I would write a heartfelt post for the holidays.  Maybe not heartfelt, maybe humorous.  Clever.  Witty.

Alas, I’ve been busy doing the real life thing, but I did want to pop on and wish everyone Happy Holidays from Fringeland.


Here, I’ll share dinner, and some of the 8 gazillion cookies Man Child and I made.

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Too Tired for Words

So I’ll post photos instead.  A long day today, lots of running around starting to get ready for the holidays (yes, I’m behind–big surprise).  Man Child came with me and we met Flower Child’s class at the annual trip to the ice skating rink,  spent time checking out the fabulous artisan booths set up at Columbus Circle, and then waiting for Nerd Child’s bus to arrive.  And waiting.  Lots of standing and waiting.

A friend made a comment the other day, how pretty the city must be with snow.  Mmmm, for about a minute.  So, the first batch of photos are from this past weekend in New England, the second batch around the city today.  Check ’em out, and post your thoughts on snow in the city.

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s now been 2 days since I worked on Astonishing, my back is crying, and I still haven’t bought a Christmas tree.  But I’ve got all 3 of my chickadees home for the holidays, and Man Child is making dinner tonight.  This is a fine moment.

Hey 2012! Don’t Let the Door Hit You on Your Way Out

Cartoon showing baby representing New Year 190...

Cartoon showing baby representing New Year 1905 chasing old man 1904 into history. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It had moments, but overall, for me, 2012 sucked.  Starting Mrs Fringe was definitely a highlight; it was my way of stomping my spread out and beat up old foot, saying,”Yes! There is still a me.”


This New Year’s, I’m going to pretend there’s a possibility that life will be better, and I will have more moments.  And by better, I mean not any worse.  I’m old enough, had my ass kicked enough, to know this won’t happen magically. The problem with downward mobility is picturing it as a spiral, the pure golden spiral of mathematics or the spiral galaxies of the universe.


English: Golden spiral in rectangles. Portuguê...

English: Golden spiral in rectangles. Português: Espiral dourada dentro de retângulos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In other words, a somewhat predictable, plottable course. I don’t think plottable is a word, but it suits my purposes, so I’ll call it poetic license.  But for most of us living on the Fringe, it isn’t (assuming your descent isn’t the product of  addiction, cause that’s a different sort of blog). It’s more of a roller coaster without the ups. Squeaking along wheels shrieking and scraping against the tracks, and then a plunge that drives your teeth into your tongue and cracks your shoulder blade against the too low back of the seat.  But somehow, no matter how painful the ride is, you stay seated, following the directions like a good sheep, “Do Not Unbuckle Safety Belt While Ride is in Motion.”


I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions in a gazillion years.  It feels so Hallmark to me. But I’m thinking…gift giving at Christmastime is Hallmark, in and of itself.  However, I received some amazing gifts this Christmas that made me leak in their acknowledgement of Mrs Fringe as someone who counts. Here , here, and I can’t thank you enough here. Also, here. So out of this commercial and Hallmark tradition came something beautiful and human. The New Comfort Food cookbook had me thinking about the importance of being ok with being me, being grounded enough to say trying something different doesn’t mean becoming someone different. I’m going to test this, and see if maybe I can make a resolution or two in order to recognize my own humanity. I have three days to decide on a resolution or two, I’m thinking one will involve regular writing submissions.

Do you use the new year to make resolutions?




If I can figure out how to unclench my jaw, and get my brain to release my fingers from their death grip on the sides of this box car, I’m going to search my pockets for the tickets that must be hidden, and try a different ride.


Get Yer Tickets Here!

Get Yer Tickets Here! (Photo credit: HeyThereSpaceman.)


Mrs Fringe Remembers

empty platter

empty platter (Photo credit: Julep67)

a time when holidays and the work that went with them were fun.  I can’t pinpoint when it stopped, but it has.  I cook. I used to cook more frequently, more elaborately, and for more people than I do now.  I used to love to cook, challenge myself with new ingredients and recipes, but now, not so much. I still enjoy it sometimes, still like to try new recipes, but the holidays?  Every year I try to cut back a dish or two and the prep involved, but the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be. The dicing, sauteing, braising and sifting that used to give me a thrill is now just work. The hunt for the perfect ingredients necessitating hitting six grocery stores isn’t the treasure hunt it once was.

I could blame the kids and Husband, “I spoiled them.” It’s true, they’re used to good food, they’re used to fresh ingredients and most everything cooked from scratch. But the truth is their finicky palates aren’t a mystery, I’m the same way. If it’s my holiday too, which it is, and if I’m doing the work, which I am, then I want to enjoy the meal(s). I couldn’t possibly cook any fewer items than I’m planning for the dinners if I don’t want anyone to be hungry.

Christmas Eve Dinner: Baked Ziti (making the sauce right now), Horseradish Crusted Roast Beef, Spinach, Pear, and Parmesan Salad, Pumpkin Torte for dessert.

Christmas Brunch: Vanilla Maple French Toast, Cheesy Baked Grits, Asst breakfast meats, fake and real.

Christmas Dinner: Ham, Cauliflower roasted with Olives, Capers, and Pignolis, Some kind of mashed potatoes, not sure which kind, and a Rice Pudding Pear Tart.

It took until late this morning for me to decide what I’m going to cook this year. Man Child went with me to one grocery store, Nerd Child went with me to another, and I sent Man Child without me to the third. Unfortunately, he just texted to tell me they have no hams, spiral sliced or not.  Yes, it’s true! I stopped making the fresh ham from scratch a few years ago, and buy the ones that are precooked, just need to be heated. Wrestling with that big leg… the soaking, the skinning, the crying, I gave up.

I used to make dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies, at least 7 different types each year, in the week leading up to Christmas.

Molasses comic

Molasses comic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They were math, language arts, history, and science lessons for the kids. They were an art, a pleasure, an excellent gift for people when you want to gift something personal and/or inexpensive. I stopped doing that when we moved into this apartment, the kitchen is impossibly small. This didn’t include the 2 or 3 cakes and/or pies I would make. Two years ago, Man Child asked for my cookie recipes so he could make them with his friends at his boarding school.  Sure.  It was actually a surprise for me, he came home with the cookies, having used the kitchen of one of his teachers. Absolutely one of the top 5 gifts I’ve ever received. –Speaking of fabulous gifts, one of my friends sent me a great paring knife!  A completely unexpected pleasure–both the knife and realizing he reads Mrs Fringe.

Who does the cooking for your holiday celebrations? Are you a fellow lunatic who won’t eat bottled salad dressing?

We spend Christmas Day at home now, I prep brunch the night before, after the stuff from Christmas Eve dinner is cleaned up, in between wrapping gifts and searching for the tripod to set up the video camera. It makes for a nice Christmas morning, I wake up and make coffee, shove the casserole dishes in the oven, and brunch cooks while we have fun opening presents, taking bad pictures, and knocking over the tripod.

So, what gives? I still love the idea of Christmas, the magic reflected on Flower Child’s face when she comes into the living room, watching the kids open their gifts, seeing the pleasure on Husband’s face as he watches them, seeing the excitement on their faces when he and I unwrap our own presents, the silliness of eating chocolate at 7 in the morning. Brunch is an open invitation and informal, I always make a lot so we usually have at least a couple of friends or relatives stop by, feels good.

Maybe I’m just a cranky old lady, and need to start making reservations for dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Dennys-Restaurant 12

Dennys-Restaurant 12 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Moments: On Christmas, Mourning, and Family

Hark! My angel :)

Hark! My angel 🙂

Yesterday I went Christmas shopping and had Man Child, Nerd Child, and Flower Child decorate the tree. It all had to be done, and I just didn’t feel like it. I am rarely “on top of” the Christmas shopping.  I always swear I will budget for it throughout the year, shop early, but usually, I’m scrambling, same as I’m doing now. I wondered why I do this at all, do Christmas presents even make any sense? This is the first year where I only have one child in school this week before Christmas, both boys are on break already.  Great! Except it feels like the school knows this, and therefore ramped up the extras so I can still spend my week running on empty from obligation to obligation.

I’m feeling umm, off balance since the shooting in Newtown CT on Friday. I stand by my statement from my last post, it didn’t make any sense and it still doesn’t.  If anything, I’m more confused than I was 4 days ago. What does this level of grief mean for our nation?  How much is personal, for the families and immediate community, and how much is ours, as a society, to take on? Where’s the line between sharing the burden of grief and glamorizing a heinous act? People are talking, and I hope they continue to do so.  Much of the talk is bluster and rhetoric, I can toe that crap to the side without a problem.  But I’ve also seen the beginnings of thoughtful discourse, with points and possibilities that should be explored. I am not a historian, and don’t know what was intended by the 2nd Amendment, or the correct way to apply it, if at all, in today’s society.

We are a nation of freedoms. With freedom comes responsibility.  Or in the plain English of Fringeland, the freedom to fuck up.  This is what, in my opinion, we should be talking about.  Personal responsibilities and how they apply to our families, our communities, our society.  I think, long ago, this used to be called ethics. But no, I don’t have a romanticized vision of the way things “used to be.” The reality is there are other atrocities that no longer occur here, are no longer legal or acceptable, that once were.

I ran around yesterday, my very best chicken without a head routine.  At the end of the day, I went to walk a dog. This dog’s owners have become friends, and are two people I respect and admire tremendously.  Man Child came with me, and though I’ve known them a few years now, this was the first time they were meeting. A moment.  In the midst of these days heavy with both bullshit and mourning, a moment of beauty.  I like these friends very much, they live their lives with integrity, and embody lives well lived. Another, newer friend recently met Nerd Child.  Another beautiful moment.  I like my children, they are thoughtful human beings and define possibilities. One has a strong sense of duty, immediate responsibilities. One has a keen instinctive eye for looking at the greater good, seems to have been born with the scales of justice connecting the chambers of his heart. One has an exquisite sense of social justice, crying at the thought of anyone being hungry. They have their own thoughts and opinions, separate from mine, Husband’s, and each other.

I don’t think I’ve hit on the purpose or meaning of life, as a parent or otherwise. I hold no answers, and as I get older, find more questions. As a parent, I want my children to believe in themselves and strive for their dreams, achieving some.  I want them to be responsible, contributing members of society. I want their dreams to include being responsible, contributing members of society. I want them to have their moments, hopefully more than I do, but still, moments when they can take a breath and say, “this is ok. I am ok.”

Personal moments aren’t enough to put aside the greater questions we need to examine and try to answer. They do not, can not, and should not negate loss, personal or public. Personal loss does not negate community or societal obligations. But if we value these moments, and recognize them because of their potential impact on others, they can matter.


lint (Photo credit: freebeets)


Tis the Season

I think she's pretty, am I done now?

I think she’s pretty, am I done now?

And, as usual, I’m unprepared.  Can’t say as always, because some years I’ve been relatively on top of things, but not usually.

I haven’t prepped a thing, haven’t so much as taken the Christmas boxes down from the closet, no clue what any of my kids would like, haven’t even purchased a box of candy canes–which I usually do right after Thanksgiving. I know, if Nerd Child reads this, he will think, “I told you I wanted ____.” I know he did tell me something, but my brain is like a sieve these days (heh, who am I kidding? has been for years), if it isn’t written down any thought drains away.

I did buy one new snow globe yesterday, see above.

Husband has a cousin whose home is always perfectly, tastefully decorated for the holidays. The woman could have been a window dresser for Saks, her eye is flawless. It’s the type of talent you either have or you don’t. I don’t, but I love to admire the efforts of those who do.

I like to know what the kiddos and Husband want for Christmas, not just taking a stab in the dark.  A lot of that is due to the budget, if we don’t buy them the item they reeeeally needed/wanted, that’s it for quite a while. I am not hitting the after Christmas sales on December 26th.  Husband is easy, he always wants clothes. Well, easy except for that whole pilgrimage to 34th St in the holiday season, but I’ll save that for another post. A couple of times over the years I saved and splurged and bought him toys instead of clothes (an iPod, a GPS), and my sense was that he still would have preferred to see those red boxes from Macy’s.


Tiffany’s (Photo credit: peterjr1961)

For several years, Husband and I admonished each other not to buy each other anything. I’m not going to say that anymore. He knows I’m going to buy him something, I know he’s going to buy me something.  Do I have a wish list? No. Things go in and out of my head all year long, but when it comes time to Husband asking me what I would like (usually around 11PM on the 23rd, sometimes 2PM on the 24th), my mind goes blank.

If I really push myself, I turn into Marilyn Monroe singing “Santa Baby,” picturing jewels and deeds. Or Elmer J Fudd, with a mansion and a yacht. Around 6AM  Christmas Day I remember that I’m wearing the same pjs that I’ve been wearing in the photos for the past 7 years, could have asked for those, 10AM I look at the wreckage of wrapping paper and boxes from the kids’ gifts and sigh over my imaginary iPad, around 3PM, I remember the paring knife I could have used.

Do you have a wish list?

Elmer Fudd

Elmer Fudd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)